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[Teacher Tips] 7 Ways to Encourage Parent Involvement

[Teacher Tips] 7 Ways to Encourage Parent Involvement

There are several studies that have found that parental involvement plays a significant role in student success. As educators, you know this. But, how do you go about getting parents involved in their child’s learning? Our list of seven tips for parent involvement builds on Joyce Epstein’s six types of family involvement framework and evolves it for the 21st century student. Take a look!

Set Expectations

Hearst and Disney

Children need to know you and their parents are on the same team. When you set expectations with both students and parents at the beginning of the school year, you can create a partnership of open communication and build trust. A great way to do this is by building a classroom contract of expectations for both students and parents to sign and/or by having students create goals for their personal and educational growth. When everyone is on the same page, it builds a great foundation for a team approach going into a new school year.

Create a Class Website

Jorge Calderon a.k.a. Sanderick

Work smarter, not harder. Don’t overwhelm yourself with emails from parents asking when assignments are due, what their child’s grade in the class is, etc. Set up a class website where parents can easily access this information, and let them know this is an option when you are setting your classroom expectations. A classroom website is a great spot to post grading policies, helpful online resources, class schedules, projects, and assignments. They’re easy to set up with templated websites like Wix or Squarespace, and they allow you to be proactive for the entire school year in minutes.

Make Constant Contact by Sharing Progress

Warner Bros.

Make sure that you reach out to parents on a regular basis, and make sure that parents know how to get ahold of you. If you schedule quarterly parent meetings, you’ll be able to give updates, connect, and manage interactions on your own schedule. Research shows that children do better when parents talk often with their teachers and become involved in their school. Share small wins on a weekly basis through automatic emails or progress folders that are to be signed by parents. This lets them to know how their child is progressing in class, and it is useful recordkeeping for parent/teacher conferences. Win-win!

Ask Parents to Get Involved and Host Events

Hallmark

The more involved parents are with their child’s school, the more involved they will be with their child’s learning. Work with the existing PTA to create opportunities for new parents to get involved, or go above and beyond the typical teacher outreach by hosting events for parents. Some great event ideas include a “technology night” where you discuss the online curriculum students are using in the classroom so that parents can gain a better understanding. Another popular idea is a workshop for parents on topics their children are learning so that they can better help with homework. This is also a great way to get feedback on times that work best to reach parents.

Offer Parent Office Hours

Fuse Media

Ultimately, face-to-face meetings are a critical way to build rapport with parents. Being flexible is the best way to make sure that parents are making these meetings. In a technology-rich world, this can mean using something like FaceTime or Skype when parents can’t be physically in your classroom for a one-on-one meeting. Allowing parent to know when you’re available and providing a variety of options and times can help parents not feel discouraged when schedules don’t line up.

Provide Resources for Frequently Asked Questions

PBS

Whether it’s on your website, in your student expectations contract, or in your quarterly meeting invitation—you should have a parent resource center where parents can turn when they have urgent questions. A parent resource is a great way to ensure that you don’t have to be available 24/7. What should go in a parent resource center? Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Guides on how to access student programs from home
  • Information on before- or after-school programs
  • School-offered or community-offered tutoring programs
  • A schedule of the school and local library hours
  • Important websites, including online program login pages and reliable source centers

Commit to Your Goals

Viacom

Throughout the year, you get busy, and sometimes, updates about struggling students take precedent over the students who are on track in your classes. But, be sure to do your best to make contact with all of the parents in your class. This will help you stay ahead before problems occur, and it can encourage positive feelings toward school when you report good news about student achievements to parents. Stick to your goals, stick to your expectations, and keep communication flowing.

Looking for more tips on how you can increase parent involvement in your classroom this year? Check out our quick video that expands on these ideas and more here!

brita.hammer@edmentum.com's picture

Brita started with Edmentum in March 2018 and currently serves as a Marketing Associate. She is passionate about providing teachers resources to help their students achieve in and out of the classroom. Brita earned a B.S. in Marketing from North Dakota State University. 

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